UNR Honor Society Raises Money for Less Fortunate

RENO, Nev. More than 7500 people struggling with homelessness and mental illness will get help from Volunteers of America ReStart programs in Reno each year.

Serving that many individuals does come and a cost and one local group is working to give the organization some financial help.

Early Saturday evening, Sierra Novella, president of Phi Alpha, UNR's Honor Society for social workers, was busy putting the final touches on their annual fundraiser held this year at Se7en Tea House in downtown Reno.

"There are probably a million reasons why I wanted to be a social worker," she said.

But helping people is the number on reason.

Which is why Phi Alpha organizes this fundraiser each year. With each silent auction bid, piece of art sold, and raffle ticket bought, a little more was being given to the less fortunate in our community.

"A lot of people think with homelessness, it's just people living out on the streets, Andi Tyrella, resources director with Volunteers of America said. "But that's not the case with our family programs, a lot of people just had a hard time with the recession and lost their homes."

Volunteers of America Northern Nevada/ReStart oversees a variety of programming designed to accommodate the needs of at risk populations in and around Washoe County, including the homeless, mentally ill and low-income seniors.

"[Mental illness is] just like a regular illness, like diabetes or cancer," Tyrella said. "It can be cured, people have recovered from it, and it shouldn't be something that's just hush hush or taboo."

Last year, Phi Alpha raised about $2000 for Volunteers of America. For more information on how you can help, visit http://www.voa-ncnn.org/